Friday, December 29, 2006

Lots of changes going on around the blog right now (and other places soon, but shhhhh, don't tell anyone yet).

Another thing I'm working on for the coming year is to update more often. I know, everyone with a blog says that, but I mean it! Really I do. Stay tuned and see!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Goodnight Mr. President

President Gerald Ford has passed away at the age of 93.

Gerald Ford was the first President I had the opportunity to photograph. In 1975, as a very green news photographer in Michigan, I was assigned to cover a speech he made at the University of Michigan.

Back in those days (before computers ruled the world) the Secret Service would physically do a background check of people requesting press credentials. We were known as the “day passers,” meaning we were covering the president just that one day and not traveling with his entourage. I remember my mother all excited because a Secret Service agent just called and asked a bunch of questions about me. She wanted to know what in Heaven’s name I did! When I told her I was going to photograph Gerald Ford she was relieved. She really thought I might be in trouble!

When I arrived at U of M the press photographers were herded into a back room for the obligatory bag check. Every camera bag was stripped and thoroughly checked to make sure nothing was being smuggled into the arena. Afterward we all stood around and waited for the signal we could enter and rush into place for the President’s speech.

While waiting, one of the older press photographers noticed my day pass and asked me if this was my first time. Proudly (and loudly) I said yes, this was indeed my ‘first time shooting the President!’ Oops!! As soon as the words left my mouth a very heavy finger tapped me on the shoulder. I slowly turned around to see a very dark suit staring down at me. It was a Secret Service Agent. In a soft, but stern voice, told me “son, we don’t use that slang when talking about the President of the United States.” Maybe it was my age, my naiveté or the fact my face was white as a ghost but the very large gentleman with the automatic weapon under his jacket just smiled and walked away.

When the time came to rush into the arena I got my first taste of the national press and how sharp the human elbow is when used as a weapon. Junkyard dogs would have been a nicer lot than those beasts! But as soon as Mr. Ford came onto the stage all pushing ceased and the clicking began.

The images I made that day were nothing all that special. At best they were typical news photos of a Presidential speech. But, they were MY pictures of President Gerald Ford, my first Presidential assignment, the President from my home State of Michigan and a boyhood friend of my uncle. It was an experience I will always remember.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Color or Black and White?

Ok, so I've had a long standing love affair with black and white, but I equally enjoy eye bleeding color photos. These, at least to me, seem to work in both mediums, but I may be jaded since I was the one who snapped the shutter! You decide, black and white or color, or doesn't it matter? Thanks, and enjoy!

Just a little peeling barn paint...

Anyone need a screen door???

More barn and farm photos. I just fell in love with the light and clouds!

One of my secret passions (if anyone couldn't guess) is landscape photography. Growing up in Michigan two of my favorite subjects are barns and abandoned farms. During my early years I shot hundreds of the familiar rural structures. While barns are most often painted a bright red, I chose most often to render them in vivid shades of gray. Even to this day I "see" most of my personal work with a monochrome eye. My days of film are gone but the techniques learned are not forgotten and much of it is easily translated into the digital medium.

The farm below was photographed late Friday afternoon in Michigan. Recently abandoned, the farm fell victim to a new state roadway.

This is the price of progress.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Sunday afternoon I had the joy of photographing a beautiful new family. I have to admit it, I LOVE babies! The feeling I get from photographing a person so innocent, so precious and so full of love is indescribable. Little Autumn was an absolute delight. Right now it's late and I have to travel tomorrow so I'll just let this picture speak for itself. More will follow when I return. Hope everyone has a beautiful week!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Like millions of other Americans I took to the road this Thanksgiving weekend. My family lives in Michigan and I don't get to see them as often as I would like, but the holidays are a good excuse to invade the parental units domicile.

On my return trip I stopped to stretch my legs at a Michigan rest area only to look up and see these incredible contrails -- signs of the most heavily traveled weekend of the year. It made me very glad to be on the ground and not in the friendly skies this weekend.

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The fall colors are fading fast. Seems like only a few days ago it was totally green, then, almost overnight, the trees exploded in brilliant shades of red, orange and golden yellow. This morning I noticed a lot of brown tones are beginning to overtake the color.

As a photographer with roots in landscape and nature photography I love this time of the year. Unfortunately, other priorities this season have negated the time I usually spend making pictures in the woods. To capture something of the season I've capitalized on every opportunity. This picture was photographed behind Costco in Robinson Township. I was there buying gas when I saw the sun peak out from behind the steel gray clouds. I jumped on the opportunity. I hope you like it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Wow, what great light there was Monday afternoon... for about 20 minutes! And what troopers Sarah and Paul were to wait for the snow to stop and the sun to peek out for those few minutes. They wanted engagement photos with fall colors but between the leaves turning fast and their work schedules time was critical. Everything worked out in the end and we had a great time making some awesome pictures! Thanks guys, can't wait for your wedding next year! Click the link below if you would like to see their slide show.

Sarah and Paul's slideshow

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Saturday I photographed my last wedding of the season, and what a way to end an incredible year! Craig and Bridget’s Celtic Wedding was, in a word, awesome.

I’ve known Craig for about a year. We met at BNI (Business Network International), a great business networking organization. Craig is a printer rep for Alpha Graphics (so if you need printing, see Craig… when he comes back from his honeymoon). When he asked me to photograph his wedding I was totally jazzed. Being of Scottish descent I have a great love for all things Celtic. Someday I even hope to learn the bagpipes (sorry neighbors).

Craig made sure every detail was covered from the Celtic Knot wedding rings on down to the drum and bagpipe processional and recessional by Katherine Craig and Alasdair Gillies, respectively.

The church, Bellefield Presbyterian, is one impressive place. Gorgeous stained glass windows allowing terrific light to flow into the sanctuary top the rotunda.

It was so awesome seeing how much love they share.

Bridget, a graduate of Chatham College, wanted a special picture on her Alma Matter’s soccer field. Of course I was more than happy to comply! The soccer ball was borrowed from a couple of kids also on the field. Everyone had so much fun!

Thanks guys for allowing me the honor of photographing your day. See you when you get back!

Monday, October 09, 2006

“Sometimes I photograph just to see what things look like on film” – Garry Winogrand (1928-1984)

I’ve liked that line since the day I first heard it in college. In many ways it describes my philosophy on photography, too. When I’m working on a personal project I often photograph to see what the subject will look like in two dimensions, with a particular lens or at some obscure angle.

Of course there’s a big line between intentional experimentation and just snapping a ton of images hoping something will come out cool. I usually have an image in my minds eye before I snap the first picture.

Digital makes it so simple to just keep making picture after picture until you get what you’re seeing in your head. ‘Back in the day’ we only had 36 exposures on each roll of film. HA! Today when we reach 36 we’re reaching for the next flashcard. Yesterday I got a 2 Gig SD card for my new snap shot carry around camera, a Canon ELF. Besides the fact the camera is awesome, my 2 Gig card allows me to make more than 700 photos before changing “film.” Seven hundred! That’s about what we use to get out of 20 rolls of 35mm film. We live in amazing times!

The following photo is one from a day of making images just because. I had this image in my minds eye all day and was very happy when it all came together. A little Photoshop work this morning and it’s done. Hope you like it, too.

Monday, October 02, 2006

There's a good reason why Pittsburgh's downtown is called "The Golden Triangle." I've been photographing my adopted city since the day I arrived 16 years ago and am constantly amazed at how many beautiful views it offers. I just had to share this one from last night. At some point in the near future I'll have a gallery of images (available for purchase) dedicated to this amazing city.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Wow, I'm so jazzed today! Saturday I had the honor of photographing Mia and Joel's awesome wedding at Shakespeare's Restaurant & Pub at Olde Stonewall Golf Club. It's a very unique castle outside of Ellwood City, PA and quite a dramatic venue -- complete with suites armor on display about the halls. Really cool.

After their ceremony on the balcony we went off for a few minutes of "alone time" around the grounds. God was looking after us and held off the rain until we finished the photos. In fact, the sun peaked out a few times just to add a bit of drama to the lovely late afternoon light.

After dinner the party really cranked up thanks to a fabulous playlist. Everyone had a great time dancing to the really hot tunes. But guys, what's the story behind the Central Michigan reference? Growing up in central Michigan it really took me by surprise! How random was that!?

Last night, sore feet and tired beyond words, I still couldn't wait to see the pictures. Thanks guys for a terrific time!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Who knew? Today I had to say no to yet another wedding for July 14th, 2007. This one in Hanover, NH. This makes the fourth inquire for this date so far. The strange part is this -- I would have bet money on 07.07.07 being my most requested day next year and so far not one inquire! On that once in a lifetime date I'm still available. I'm sure I'll book up but it does strike me as odd. Who knew?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Saturday I was honored to photograph Brigette and Steve's beautiful wedding at the magnificent Hyeholde in Moon Township. Even though I'm only a few minutes from this incredible place it was my first time there for a wedding ceremony. The manager, Jeffrey Cooper, and his staff did an amazing job!

Brigette wasn't a nervous bride at all, she was just happy, smiling and enjoying her day! They are both so cool! Steve is an artist and designed their rings.

And how about that motorcycle, guys? Wow, what a touching gift. Bet you wish you could fit it on the plane for your honeymoon! See you when you get back!

Here are a few of my quick picks from the day..

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Just got back from an incredible wedding this weekend in California with my good friend Mike Colon and new friend, and terrific photographer, Ray Santana. It was the most lavish and expensive wedding I've shot to date. When Mike asked a few weeks ago if I would come out to help him I was totally stoked. Unfortunately because of a strict Non-Disclosure Agreement I cannot talk about it or show any images, but if you Google around you'll see lots of press, the paparazzi were staked out on the hillsides and more. Hopefully someday I can show some shots, but I'm not holding my breath. Thanks again, Mike, for putting your faith and trust with me. I'm so glad we were able to, as you said, "nail the shots!"

Here's a picture I "borrowed" from Mike's site of us doing a pose to show off our uber stylish Panerai. The shot was made late into what turned out to be around a 19 hour day.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

This is incredible; I cannot believe it’s been almost a month since I last made an entry, but what a month it’s been! With a wedding every weekend, engagement sessions and commercial assignments spattered throughout the time has flown by. Long hours and late nights have been the rule. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Cool tools. I’m an Apple guy through and through. This month, on top of every thing else going on, I added a new Macintosh G5 to my arsenal. This puppy is packed with everything possible to deliver blazing processing speed. Multiple racks of external hard drives provide more than two terabytes of storage. That should last me through this season at least! Twin LaCie monitors and a stack of Lexar firewire CF card readers round out my new workstation.

This added technology couldn’t come at a better time! I’ve had so many wonderful jobs lately it’s been a pleasure to be locked in front of my computers (well, almost). The real pleasure has been meeting so many awesome people and making so many wonderful images.

Kelly and Mike Conlon were married on Friday, August 4h in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. They are such a happy couple! I don’t think I’ve seen a guy laugh with such zeal as Mike, he just lights up a room with his joy. This was a “quiet moment” made between the wedding and reception. When Kelly’s mother saw the picture all she said was “yep, that’s our Mike.”

Kelly and Dave will be married next year. On Saturday, August 5th we all met at Station Square for their engagement session. I normally don’t schedule anything the day after a wedding but, for them I made an exception because Dave had to return to Washington DC the next morning. They were uncomfortable in front of the camera for maybe 30 seconds, if that! Once I told Dave to ignore me and pay attention to Kelly, well, let’s just say the interaction between them was quite magical. Can’t wait for their wedding!

Heather and Gino are not your typical couple. They didn’t want a traditional wedding in any way shape or form. Instead they had a garden party and at some point get married! The couple exchanged vows on a bridge over a lap pool. The pool was in Heather’s grandmother’s backyard. Very cool! Keeping in the non-traditional style, they don’t want an album; rather, several fine art black and white prints from the day will adorn the walls of their home. Awesome! Although, Heather did say maybe one color photo would be OK, the dress is really quite colorful.

I would be quite remiss if I did not mention a very special assignment I had this month. As many of you know, for many years I was a newspaper and magazine photojournalist. Most of that is behind me now, but there are a few special publications I continue to work with at any opportunity. Guideposts is one. In early August it was my pleasure to travel to Grove City, PA to photograph Josh Anderson, his mother, Sheryl, a some close friends for a special profile. I don't want to let the cat out of the bag so grab a copy of the magazine and read his heartwarming story. It should be on newsstands now.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A Perfect July Wedding Day!

It's not often you have cool temps in July, but Lauren and Mike did! The cold front came in bringing almost spring-like weather to last weeks wedding. Their afternoon ceremony at Orchard Hill Church was beautiful and the reception following at Shannopin Country Club was absolutely awesome! Since the wedding I've been busily editing more than 3,300 images Ed and I made throughout the day. There are so many special moments! Thank you guys for allowing us to share your incredible day.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Western PA School for Blind Children

The most rewarding assignments I receive are those where I am allowed to just go out and find images packed with emotion. Finding special moments in daily life is what I'm all about. Yesterday I had the opportunity to explore the wonderful work done at the Western PA School for Blind Children. The staff there are simply angles doing incredible things helping God's children. I feel truly blessed their designer, Pam Peters, President of MarketSpace Communications, entrusted me to document this amazing facility for their annual report.

When I sent Pam a few images from the shoot last night she sent me this note:


These are absolutely gorgeous.

You are amazing with the camera!


Thank you, Pam, for the beautiful opportunity to witness the love and dedication of everyone at the school.